Jason Brough

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Ogrean to retire as USA Hockey’s executive director

USA Hockey announced today that Dave Ogrean will retire as its executive director on August 1, 2017.

From the press release:

A national search for a new executive director will begin immediately.

Ogrean has served as executive director of USA Hockey since August 1, 2005, and also held the position from 1993-99. He began his professional career with the organization as its director of public relations from 1978-80.

“We’ve had someone in Dave Ogrean who has helped establish USA Hockey as truly one of the preeminent national governing bodies in America during his time as executive director,” said the organization’s president, Jim Smith.

“After initially discussing an extension of his contract last fall, he came to me in late November and shared that he felt the better time to pass the baton would be sooner rather than later, affording his successor the opportunity to fill the senior staff vacancies that will occur in the near future due to retirements.”

Ogrean signed a four-year contract extension in 2013. He’ll retire with the future looking extremely bright for hockey in the United States.

In June, Auston Matthews was drafted first overall.

The year before, Jack Eichel went second overall.

Meanwhile, Patrick Kane is the reigning Hart Trophy recipient, and the United States is the reigning gold-medal winner at the World Juniors.

There have been disappointments, to be sure, like this summer’s World Cup, where the Americans went winless and failed to advance to the knockout stage.

But the United States is now an undisputed hockey power. Only Canada produces more NHLers, and the gap is closing.

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There will be changes to the Isles’ lineup, ‘no doubt about that’

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Expect to see some changes to the Islanders’ lineup when they play tomorrow at Florida.

Isles coach Jack Capuano was none too pleased with a number of his players during last night’s 2-1 loss to the Panthers in Brooklyn.

“There are guys that will be out of the lineup next game, no doubt about that,” Capuano said, per the New York Post. “It’s the accountability of the coaching staff to do what they have to do.”

Of note, veteran winger Jason Chimera logged just 9:45 of ice time and didn’t register a shot.

Shane Prince didn’t have a great game either. The 24-year-old winger hasn’t registered a shot in his past two games.

Capuano didn’t name names, but there were clearly others who didn’t make the grade. The coach was especially upset with the second period, which saw the Isles outshot, 16-6, and outscored, 1-0.

“We had some guys who should’ve stayed in the room,” said Capuano, per Newsday.

Anthony Beauvillier and Stephen Gionta were the healthy forward scratches last night. One or both of them could be inserted tomorrow.

Read more: Isles place Travis Hamonic on IR, recall Scott Mayfield

It remains to be seen if the Isles will, at some point this season, look to AHL Bridgeport for reinforcements. Youngsters Josh Ho-Sang and Michael Dal Colle are both down there, though neither has put up eye-popping numbers. Ho-Sang has three goals and 13 assists in 29 games. Dal Colle has eight goals and seven assists in 33 games.

Related: Isles sign Gionta

Gudas to be healthy scratch for Flyers; Streit getting close to return

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Radko Gudas will be a healthy scratch tonight when his struggling Philadelphia Flyers host Vancouver.

Flyers coach Dave Hakstol told reporters that Gudas needs to be more consistent. The 26-year-old defenseman will presumably be replaced by Nick Schultz, who’s been a healthy scratch himself the past two games.

We perhaps should’ve seen this coming, when Gudas practiced yesterday on a pairing with Mark Streit, who hasn’t played in a month due to injury. Streit is getting close to coming off injured reserve, but he’s not expected to return until this weekend at the earliest.

The Flyers play at Boston Saturday and at Washington Sunday.

When Streit does get back into the lineup, his return will only increase the log jam on the back end — something GM Ron Hextall will have to deal with, barring no further injuries.

From CSN Philly:

With Streit’s return, the Flyers could have a gluttony of defensemen with eight. Hextall would not tip his hand as to what his options are to comply with the salary cap, but on paper, waiving a defenseman is an option, such as Nick Schultz or Andrew MacDonald.

The Flyers are coming off a disappointing 4-1 loss to Buffalo on Tuesday. After winning 10 straight from the end of November through mid-December, they’ve gone 2-6-3 in their last 11 and are only barely hanging on to the second wild-card spot in the East.

Flames battle back, then score late to beat Sharks

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CALGARY, Alberta (AP) Chad Johnson and the Calgary Flames got a victory — after getting a big scare.

A late goal by Dougie Hamilton and a pair of clutch saves by Johnson led the Flames to a 3-2 win over the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday night.

Hamilton scored at 17:41 of the third period, while Johnson turned aside a short-handed breakaway by Mikkel Boedker with just 8 seconds left in the game.

“I think everybody was pretty shocked,” Johnson said of Boedker’s late scoring chance. “We’ve got a power play and all of a sudden, 8 seconds left, a guy’s on a breakaway from the blue line. You’ve kind of just try to stay focused and stay with him and thankfully nothing came of it.”

Johnson also stuck out his left pad to stop Boedker from scoring on a penalty shot at 14:33 of the third.

“On the penalty shot, I just tried to stay with him,” said Johnson, who made 25 saves to pick up his 15th win of the season. “I played with him in Phoenix, so I tried to go back in the memory log there and just try to remember what he did. He had two good looks there, but I got lucky and made the saves.”

Hamilton and rookie Matthew Tkachuk both finished with a goal and an assist for the Flames, while Michael Frolik also scored. Mikael Backlund added a pair of assists.

“It’s big,” Hamilton said of beating the Pacific Division-leading Sharks. “I think for us, we’ve just go to try to win every game. … It’s tough to move up the standings, so we’ve got to do it now instead of trying to do it later in the season.”

Read more: The Flames are starting to grasp their new system, and it shows

Brent Burns had a goal and an assist for the Sharks, while Logan Couture also scored.

“Just losing makes it tough,” said Burns, who scored once and set up two others in Edmonton on Tuesday to lead the Sharks to a 5-3 win over the Oilers. “You don’t like to give away points. That’s all that matters.”

Making just his sixth start of the season, San Jose’s Aaron Dell made 25 saves in a losing cause.

“It was pretty cool,” said the 27-year-old Dell, who’s from nearby Airdrie, Alberta, and played two seasons for the Calgary Canucks of the Alberta Junior Hockey League from 2007-09.

“I dreamed of playing here growing up,” he added. “It was a dream come true. It could’ve been a little better.”

Couture opened the scoring at 9:40 of the first period when he redirected a point shot fired by Burns through Johnson’s legs for a power-play goal.

Frolik, who was in the penalty box serving a slashing penalty when Couture scored, then answered right back for the Flames at 11:22. Thanks to a nice second effort, Frolik shoveled a rebound past Dell to atone for his penalty.

Burns put the Sharks back up by one at 16:06 when his wrist shot from the point found the back of the net behind Johnson, who was screened on the play.

After being outshot 12-8 in the first period, the Flames turned the tables and outshot the Sharks 9-7 in the second. The Flames were rewarded for their hard work during a man advantage when Tkachuk deflected Backlund’s shot past Dell with 31.7 seconds left in the period.

 

NHL confirms 3-on-3 tourney for the All-Star Game

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It was a rousing success last year in Nashville, so no surprise the NHL is bringing back the three-on-three tournament for the 2017 All-Star Game in Los Angeles later this month.

From the league’s press release:

— The 2017 Honda NHL® All-Star Game will be a three-game tournament played in a 3-on-3 format with a prize pool of $1 million to be paid in its entirety to the tournament’s winning team.

— The tournament will feature four teams, one team representing each NHL division: the Pacific, Central, Metropolitan and Atlantic.

— Each team will be made up of 11 players from each division: six forwards, three defensemen and two goaltenders.

— The 2017 Coors Light NHL All-Star Skills Competition™ is now a matchup between each NHL division’s All-Star team, with the winning division earning the right to select both their semi-final opponent and when their semi-final game will be played; first or second on Sunday.

— Each game in the 2017 Honda NHL All-Star Tournament will be 20 minutes in length.

— Teams will change ends at the 10-minute mark of each game. Games that are tied after 20 minutes will be decided by a shootout.

— The winners of each semi-final game will play each other in the All-Star Tournament Final to determine the overall tournament champion.

Now, we all know that John Scott was the big story last year. He won’t be back to defend his MVP honor.

But after the entertainment value of the All-Star Game bottomed out two years ago in Columbus, the NHL deserves credit for changing the format, and the players deserve credit for embracing it.

Hopefully we see competitive hockey (relatively speaking) again at Staples Center on Jan. 29th.

Click here for the All-Star rosters. 

Related: New All-Star Game format proves to be a winner